Simpson earns spot in officiating crew at state football finals


Chris Simpson

By John Henson, Managing Editor

The crew for this year’s Class A football finals included, from left: Petie Gilbert, Les Pollitt, Richie Dunn, Michael Kaelin, Dylan Fields, Scott Jagger and Chris Simpson.

Like all the high school football teams he sees each Friday as an official, Harlan County native Chris Simpson hoped to one day reach the state football finals.
That dream was achieved last month when Simpson received word that he would be part of the crew that would officiate the Class A state championship game that matched Pikeville against Russellvile at Kroger Field in Lexington.
“When I received the call about being selected for the finals, I was shocked and humbled,” Simpson said. “This is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Simpson’s crew at the state finals included officials from around the state, including Middlesboro’s Petie Gilbert. Simpson learned his assignment during the third round of the state playoffs, then headed to Lexington two weeks later to work the game.
A 1991 graduate of James A. Cawood High School, Simpson started officiating high school football in 1998. He started calling basketball games in 2000. He also works as a softball official.
Simpson said he dedicated the biggest game of his life as an official to his mother, Claudella, who died in late November.
“I dedicated this game to my mom,” he said, “because she always supported me and wanted me to succeed.”